Welcome to a world of culture, beauty and fun.
This website invites you to a virtual getaway to California’s Central Coast region that will acquaint you with select events, performances, arts, people and ideas representing the best of what you can discover and enjoy here. Long a haven for lovers, artists, writers, foodies and fans of outdoor leisure, many pleasures await those willing to leave the hustle-bustle of daily life for a spell.
As your guide, I’ll begin the journey with the specialty for which I am best known hereabouts: the performing arts. Continue reading
When a community acquires a new world-class performance hall, it can be an exhilarating experience. Many of you will remember the excitement surrounding Carmel’s newly renovated state-of-the-art Sunset Center 10 years ago. So it is with Stanford University’s spacious and elegant Bing Concert Hall, which opened earlier this year to speeches, fanfare and a smart display of the hall’s flexibility and acoustical suppleness.
At 842 seats, Bing is roughly the same size as Carmel’s Sunset Theater. The hall’s design, however, is radically different. Architect Richard Olcott of Ennead Architects created a series of tiered or terraced sections that seat the audience completely around the stage—a so-called “vineyard” oval design that allows patrons to see each other as well as the performers. Continue reading
This weekend, while sipping coffee and enjoying my morning ritual of turning pages of newspapers, I came upon this Letter to the Editor in the Monterey Herald. I was asked earlier this summer not to submit reviews of local theater productions to the newspaper because a budget-saving experiment is underway to let members of the community do the reviewing. I understand the need for the paper try new approaches, and am happy to post my reviews for you here. For the record, I have been writing performing arts reviews for the Herald for almost 20 years. Best! Barbara
“There is a great difference between good writing and just telling a story. I have just read two very positive reviews on Pacific Repertory Theatre’s current production of “Julius Caesar,” one of which was written by your classical music critic, Barbara Rose Shuler, but not published in The Herald. The published review was by one of The Herald’s community reviewers. I encourage the reader to check out both reviews. One can read Shuler’s review at www.barbarasbest.com.”
Carmel’s Pacific Repertory Theatre chose an ideal match for the world of September 2012—Shakepeare’s Julius Caesar. The company’s artistic director Kenneth Kelleher stages the Roman tale in a contemporary multimedia style for blistering effect in the newly renovated Golden Bough Theatre.
Punctuated by the gripping performances of Stephen Moorer as Marc Antony, Remi Sandri as Brutus, and Michael Wiles as Cassius, this timeless classic about the demise of the powerful Roman statesman mirrors today’s news in an unambiguous way. Assassinations, lies, political intemperance, cynical manipulation of the masses, twisting of truth, drums of war…sound familiar? Continue reading
Classical music lovers stood and cheered for two spectacular live performances this past week—composer & musician Philip Glass at Carmel’s Sunset Center and Puccini’s glorious opera, La Boheme, at Hidden Valley. Though the two events delivered radically different content, together they represent a promising emergence of high-quality musical activity during the traditional late summer quiet time for classical music.
The classical seasons here generally launch in the fall and continue through May, followed by a burst of brilliance in July and August in our world-class festivals. Now it seems September too is developing a regional identity as a signature month for superb musical opportunities. Continue reading
Note: La Boheme opened last night in Carmel Valley,–an excellent production. Recommended! Below is a write-up on the opera that was published last week in the Monterey Herald, edited for BarbarasBest.
If you adore opera, you love Puccini’s La Boheme. If you know nothing of this genre, it makes the perfect introduction. This week, the opera opens in Carmel Valley with a cast of nationally recognized talented singers and a superb core of directors and designers. Continue reading
“The Carmel Spirit” is my article that appeared in the 75th anniversary program book of the Carmel Bach Festival, which closed with a terrific “Best of the Fest” concert on Saturday narrated and conducted by maestro Paul Goodwin.
When I was asked to write reflections about my 2 decades covering the Carmel Bach Festival as a writer and broadcaster, many cherished memories arose. I joyfully recall season after season of exquisite music performed by the Festival ensemble, always perfecting its unity of sound and delivery. The in-depth interviews with members of the staff and ensemble that formed the basis of my writing and broadcasting each summer were richly rewarding for me personally. I especially treasure the many conversations with former Festival conductor and music director Bruno Weil and now those with maestro Paul Goodwin who, like Weil, generously shares his ideas and discoveries about the composers and their music.
The Carmel Bach Festival isn’t just an annual musical celebration for grownups. Any summer at the Carmel Bach Festival you can hear outstanding music performed by young people from grade school to high school. Young instrumentalists and singers are showcased in concerts at the start and finish of each season. Continue reading
The Carmel Bach Festival gives us a few more days of music—main concerts, chamber works, lectures, and special programs and events—then closes with the traditional wrap-up, “Best of the Fest,” Saturday evening. Once again in this column I will make a pitch for the sustainers of this organization to expand the festival back to three weeks. It is a budgetary call to keep it at two weeks and a critical one, but returning to three weeks is also important. Continue reading
I have been asked to post my letter to the editor published in the Herald responding to another letter that undercounted the number of Bach works in the festival. It troubled me that this misinformation gave people a wrong idea about the music and mission of the festival. My response was favorably received. Continue reading
The ancient basilica of the Carmel Mission has long been the setting of the Carmel Bach Festival’s beloved Founders Memorial Concert, with its pageantry and choral magnificence. The mission, established in 1771, possesses an ideal acoustic for early sacred music written for the cathedrals of Europe because it comes from this architectural tradition. The festival founders understood this profound connection to the Old World and established the mission concert as a unique centerpiece of the festival each season. Continue reading